Japan must brace itself for the possible launch of a nuclear-armed North Korean missile over its territory if the regime carries out a threat to test a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean, Japan’s defence minister has said.
The warning followed an extraordinary exchange of insults between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un in response to the US president’s threat at the UN general assembly to “totally destroy” North Korea if Washington was forced to defend itself or its allies.
Kim said that he was considering retaliating at the “highest level”, calling Trump a “mentally deranged US dotard” who would “pay dearly” for threatening to destroy his regime. The North Korean foreign minister, Ri Yong-ho, suggested Pyongyang could test a powerful nuclear weapon in the Pacific.
“It could be the most powerful detonation of an H-bomb in the Pacific,” Ri, who is due to address the UN general assembly at the weekend, told reporters in New York. “We have no idea about what actions could be taken as it will be ordered by leader Kim Jong-un.”
Trump tweeted in response on Friday: “Kim Jong Un of North Korea, who is obviously a madman who doesn’t mind starving or killing his people, will be tested like never before!”